As true reverse feedback, 360° assessment is used for profiles that have a circular interaction with their environment, namely salespeople, managers and executives (who are surrounded by supervisors, colleagues, subordinates, internal or external customers, suppliers and partners).
360° assessment’s initial objective is to achieve an understanding of the perceptions of one’s professional entourage. In keeping with this, the tool was developed on the principles that human beings need to evaluate and learn more about managerial qualities in order to make them evolve. The potential awareness that a manager may have about the way his colleagues perceive him plays an important role in his behaviour. After all, individuals are naturally sensitive to the gaze of others.
Therefore, 360° was originally dedicated to personal development. Today, about 20% of companies use this tool to assess the skills and performance of their supervisors. 360° is tailor made by consulting firms, based on a competency framework specific to each company. The professional entourage of the assessed individual receive a questionnaire that contains between 50 and 100 statements to be scored on a scale:
The aim is to note how regularly the behaviour in question is observed in his/her practice. In order to collect meaningful data, the implementation of 360° assessment must allow for a sufficient quantity and diversity of assessors to ensure anonymity for those surveyed. The more the company communicates about the principles and the objectives of the approach, the more 360° is likely to offer real benefits to those who are assessed, who must nevertheless be prepared for the assessment. Indeed, a manager could be strongly unsettled by a significant discrepancy between his perceptions and the feelings of his team.
To conclude, it is a tricky exercise and the quality of its conclusions depends on its execution. The company’s culture and communication about this device largely influence the assessment’s success. As a reminder, this approach does not offer the “truth” about a manager’s behaviour, but provides a lot of information about the feelings of his professional entourage.
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